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San Mateo County, California, DMV Hearing vs. Court Trial

DMV Hearing vs. Court CaseIf you were arrested for drinking and driving in San Mateo County, California, not only will you be facing a trial for your DUI in criminal court, but you should also schedule a ALS hearing with the DMV's Driver Safety Office (DSO) to protect your driving privileges.

Within ten (10) calendar days of your arrest, we highly recommend you retain a DUI defense attorney to represent you at both proceedings, even though the drunk driving trial and the DMV hearing are not related. You must contact the DSO to request and schedule a hearing within the ten (10) days or you waive your right to a hearing resulting in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a longer period of time. Your thirty-day temporary license immediately becomes void.

The outcome of each proceeding will not affect the other. During the DMV hearing, only the details surrounding your DUI arrest will be discussed. For example, your BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) will be introduced as well as whether the lawful procedures were followed leading up to the arrest. The only determination that will be made is if your driver's license suspension will be upheld or thrown out. Only your criminal court trial will determine if you are guilty of drinking and driving. If you are found guilty, your sentencing will also take place in court.

At your criminal trial, you have the right to legal representation. A trial judge will preside. Just like the criminal trial, you are entitled to representation during the DMV hearing, but a DMV hearing officer will preside, serving as prosecution and judge. Hearing officers are not legally trained individuals but can make objections to your evidence and rule on their own objections. This is why it is so important to retain a knowledgeable DMV hearing lawyer who will protect you rights and freedom.

Understanding that the DMV hearing and the criminal trial are not related, and the outcome of one will not affect the other, it is possible that your license suspension is "set aside" in the DMV hearing, but can be suspended again as a result of a guilty verdict in your criminal case. Other punishments for being found guilty of drinking and driving are hefty fines, possible jail time, mandatory community service, mandatory alcohol classes, installation of an ignition interlock device on you vehicle, and more.

Protecting your driving privileges, rights, and freedom are important to us. We dedicate over forty hours each month to continuing education and research so that we can provide you with the best defense possible. For a free consultation, please contact the San Mateo County Law Office of Robert Tayac.

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